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#DoPublicGood is a project highlighting people or organizations that do good by bike. Each month we’ll be shining a spotlight on those who enrich communities all over through their two-wheeled advocacy. You can read our past #DoPublicGood profileshere.

If you have a nominee for #DoPublicGood, please let us know in the comments and if selected we’ll send you both a PUBLIC gift certificate.


Family riding the Napa Valley Ride to Defeat ALS


May is ALS Awareness Month, which gives us the opportunity to shine a light on an incredible event PUBLIC bikes has supported since 2013: The Napa Valley Ride to Defeat ALS.  

The ride was founded in 2005 to support The ALS Association’s efforts to advance the search for effective treatments and cures for the disease.  Since then, it has raised more than $6.1 million; becoming the largest ALS charity ride in the world.

We interviewed Cliff Whitlock, Team Challenge ALS Director, about the past, present, and future of an event that is helping so many people battle a devastating disease.

Can you start by telling us a little bit about ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease)?


CLIFF:  Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, and more recently known from the Ice Bucket Challenge in 2014, is a fatal, neurodegenerative illness that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.  Within an average of 2-5 years, people with ALS lose the ability to walk, move, speak, swallow, and eventually, to breathe – all while the mind and senses usually continue to function normally.

ALS is not contagious and does not discriminate – it affects men and women of all ages, ethnic backgrounds, and socioeconomic status around the world. There is no known cause and no way to substantially slow the disease.

Every 90 minutes, someone is diagnosed with ALS. Every 90 minutes, someone loses their battle.


How did the ride come about as a way to help fight the disease?


CLIFF: The ALS Association already had walks to help raise funds and awareness for the disease, but our volunteers wanted to broaden that outreach to a ride. Coming together with a small group of dedicated business leaders and cyclists, they created the first Wine Country Ride to Defeat ALS, now known as the Napa Valley Ride.

While growing rapidly from a few hundred participants to more than one thousand in 14 years, the event has kept its family-friendly environment and mission-oriented sense of purpose. All of our attendees are able to have fun and celebrate the lives of people with ALS while working hard to raise funds for care services, public policy, and research to end the disease.

Driving awareness is another big aspect of the ride that helps us fight the disease. The more people who participate and donate, the more funding and volunteers we get – which is huge. Every person makes a difference in our organization.

The Napa Valley Ride to Defeat ALS has become the largest charity ride for ALS in the world. Last year, we had 1,150 total participants who raised $960,000; advancing The ALS Association’s search for effective treatments and cures for the disease.


Team (S)miles at the starting line.


Tell us more about the event and what the full experience is like.


CLIFF:  It truly is one of the most beautiful rides in the world, and right during harvest season so the aromas and sites are in peak form. We’re proud to have a route for any level of rider: 12 miles, 28 miles, 38 miles (new route), 62 mile Lite,  62 mile Challenge, or 100 miles. Each distance offers a beautiful day riding past vineyards, with rest stops every 10-20 miles and SAG (support and gear) vehicles to help along the way.

The ride ends with an incredible festival with live music from Santa Rosa’s own Kingsborough Band, a well deserved beer or glass of wine, delicious BBQ, ice cream, smoothie bikes, etc…

Many participants form a team of friends and family or a group of coworkers, or even sign up to ride on their own and make friends on the route! We ask all of our participants to pay a registration fee and raise a minimum of $150 before the day of the ride. These funds are put to use right away for critical research and care services for people living with ALS and their families. Plus, you’ll earn a Napa Valley Ride beer or wine glass and a pair of branded socks!

In addition to this there are other levels of fundraising incentives which include a really wonderful jersey when you raise $750 or more, and bike shorts when you raise more than $3,000!

Overall, it’s a rejoiceful day of exercise, food, wine, and community.


What are some stories from the ride that stand out to you?


CLIFF:  One story happened just last year. Matt Chaney, who has lived with ALS for more than 17 years, gifted his recumbent bike to another person recently diagnosed with ALS in hopes that he would get to enjoy it as much as he had when he was still able to ride. This is just one example of how dedicated Matt is to the ALS community and he has said to me that he feels lucky to have lived so long and so well with ALS. Matt continues to be an inspiration for so many living with the disease that you can live a productive and meaningful life. He has been the Co-Chair for the Napa Valley Ride for several years and continues to lead the event as a top fundraiser every year since he has been a part of it. His dedication and generosity really showed itself in 2017, when he gave his bike that he had ridden for more than a decade with ALS to another one of our riders who is living with the disease.


Matt Chaney with other members of the ride committee.


Another story that comes to mind has been happening for nearly every year of the Napa Valley Ride to Defeat ALS, all of our riders have been greeted at the Finish Line by the incredible team Kay’s Angels. This team spends the majority of the day with Kay Thomas, who has been living with ALS for more than 17 years, at the finish line cheering people as the end their incredible ride and give them celebration beads. Knowing that you have ridden many miles to be greeted by someone living with the disease adds a beautiful sense of purpose to our event. For many of us, Kay represents our “Never Give Up” spirit that we have on the back of all of our jerseys. Kay and her husband Phil Thomas are as dedicated today as they ever were in their efforts to create a world without ALS.


What is the future of the rides? What do you hope is next?


CLIFF: The future is that we create a world without ALS. Ultimately, to turn this ride into a celebration of the lives of people we have lost to ALS and the lives we hope to save. In order to do that though, we need to continue to grow as an event, include more people in our efforts, and raise more so we can do more.

I see events like the AIDS/LifeCycle and Bike MS as examples of peer to peer events that can power change. Sure, a large donor or corporation could come in and donate a million dollars to our organization and have a transformational impact, but when we have more than 1,000 participants riding together and more than 7,000 donors supporting them, that fires us all up at a grassroots level. To me, it’s a sign that people really care, and that they are willing to make the world a better place for those that are suffering at the hands of a devastating disease.

Because of those cycling events that I mentioned and many other fundraising events, there have been significant advancements and even treatments for AIDS and Multiple Sclerosis. My hope is that within the next few years, hopefully sooner, we will see more breakthroughs as a direct result of our efforts through the Ride. We’re seeing more genes discovered related to ALS than ever before.  In fact, there was a new one just discovered last month (KIF5A). The ALS Association Golden West Chapter is now serving more people than ever in our chapter’s history, and the awareness has never been higher with the viral Ice Bucket Challenge and the recent diagnosis of celebrities like former 49er Hall of Famer Dwight Clark or the passing of Dr. Stephen Hawking and Sam Shepard.

All of these efforts, together, are culminating into real results and I am incredibly excited by the future. The people living with ALS and their families are the most inspiring people I have ever met. They show me, and all of us, that when the odds are stacked against you, you can either do nothing or do something. Our riders and supporters choose to do something.


Volunteers dressed as superheros.


How can people get involved in this year’s ride?


CLIFF:  Sign up to ride or volunteer! We’re offering all our PUBLIC friends 20% off registration when they use discount code “DOGOOD


When: Saturday, September 22, 2018

Where: California Veterans Home in Yountville

Routes: 12-mi, 28-mi, 38-mi, 62-mi Lite, 62-mi Challenge, 100-mi, or Walk


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The 13th annual Napa Valley Ride to Defeat ALS & Walk is a one-day fundraising event to support the fight against ALS.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that robs people of their ability to walk, speak, swallow, and eventually to breathe. Most people live two to five years from the time of diagnosis. There is no known cause or cure. Join us as we come together to honor our loved ones, raise funds, and create awareness for our shared vision – to create a world without ALS.

The Napa Valley Ride to Defeat ALS has 5 different routes through the heart of Napa’s wine country for all cycling abilities, as well as a beautiful Walk through the Yountville Veterans Home. The cycling routes include the Century (100 mile), 62 mile Challenge, 62 mile Lite, 28 mile and a 12 mile Family Route. After your ride, enjoy a BBQ lunch, wine and beer and a live band!

This year, on September 23rd, join 1,000 cyclists to help put the brakes on ALS!

Note: There is “Early-Bird” pricing on this event through June 30! 

Napa Valley Ride to Defeat ALS, Volunteer Committee - We need YOU

NVR18 Event Info Website Header

The Napa Valley Ride to Defeat ALS and Walk is a one-day cycling event, this year on Saturday, September 18, 2021, designed to appeal to every level of rider. This year will be fully virtual, due to COVID-19 and the Delta variant, which means that you and your team can support from wherever you want and ride, hike, run, walk, roll, swim, etc... any distance you want. You can also join our all-star volunteer crew!

COVID-19 Response (updated on 08/16/21)

The Napa Valley Ride to Defeat ALS is first and foremost a fundraising event to fuel the mission priorities of the Golden West Chapter of The ALS Association, where people living with ALS and their families come first.

Whereas people living with ALS are at a high risk of serious illness or death if they are infected with COVID-19, and the Delta variant has been proven to be more than twice as infectious and can be transmitted between vaccinated individuals, the decision has been made to transition to a fully virtual event that will be held on Saturday, September 18. In the interest of safety, we will no longer be hosting an in-person event in Napa this year.

Morning and Afternoon Schedule

  • 7:30AM:Check-In on Zoom*
  • 8:00AM:Zoom Startline Program begins on Zoom
  • 8:30AM:Participate your way! Get out and ride, walk, run, roll, or do whatever it is that you want to do to help spread awareness and raise urgently needed funds for our ALS community.
  • 1:00PM:Finish Line Zoom*
  • 1:15PM:Fun live(stream) band performance by The Refreshments on Zoom 
  • 2:00PM:Afternoon Zoom Awards Ceremony
  • 2:30PM: Directly following the Awards Ceremony, the band will be back on to close out the day until 3:15PM

* The Zoom link will be shared with all registered participants on Monday, September 13. If you are not receiving our emails, please let us know by emailing [email protected]


How do I participate?

Choose YOUR way of supporting our community this year from wherever you are in the world. You can Ride, Walk, Run, Roll, Hike, Swim - the possibilities are endless! If you plan on hosting your own get-together for one or more teams, please let us know and we can help you make it fun and safe!

Assumption of Risk

By participating with others in support of the Napa Valley Ride to Defeat ALS, you expressly agree to comply with any and all rules and safety guidelines put in place by local authorities, and voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19, waiving all claims and potential claims against the event organizers, and their affiliated companies relating to such risks.

If you choose to participate with others and/or create your own team event, we strongly advise that you have a vaccine requirement and wear masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Registration Fee Schedule

For those who paid a registration fee before August 16, your fee will be converted into a tax-deductible donation and will count toward your fundraising total.
Volunteers (in-person): Free (learn more about joining our all-star volunteer team here)
Virtual Participants (those unable to attend the in-person event):

Fundraising Minimum

All participants are asked to raise a minimum of $150 in donations, by the day of the event (September 18, 2021). Our average participant raised more than $1,100 in 2020, so we know you can do it! Fundraising for The ALS Association Golden West Chapter is a very direct way of supporting our mission, and with each person you ask to support you, you are also spreading important awareness for ALS. Fundraising is easy and fun -- and we are here to help you get started and to surpass this fundraising goal!  If you are a first-time fundraiser or are interested in learning more, check out our Fundraising Tools. Our staff is another resource for you and we will be here for you at every step of the way! Don’t hesitate to reach out and we can come up with a fundraising plan together!

Morning and Afternoon Schedule

  • 7:30AM: Check-In on Zoom (The Zoom link will be sent via email on Monday)
  • 8:00AM: Zoom Startline Program begins
  • 8:30AM: Participate your way! Get out and ride, walk, run, roll, or do whatever it is that you want to do to help spread awareness and raise urgently needed funds for our ALS community.
  • 1:00PM: Finish Line Zoom
  • 1:15PM: Band Set 1
  • 2:00PM: Afternoon Zoom Awards Ceremony
  • 2:30PM: Band Set 2

Join Us On Social Media

Stay tuned on updates by following us on the below social media platforms!

  Instagram Logo Twitter Logo

Join Us On Strava


Upcoming Events

We are committed to bringing our Napa Valley Ride to Defeat ALS community together. Please check back here regularly for virtual events for our participants!

  • No current events scheduled

Fundraising Incentives

Rider Checklist

Be sure to keep a safe distance between you and any other cyclists and check in with CDC recommendations to stay safe!

*Helmet - Helmets are REQUIRED for ALL cyclists.
*Spare tubes and/or a patch kit, tire irons
*CO2 or mini-pump
*Sunscreen / lip balm
*Hand sanitizer
*Sunglasses or other protective eyewear
*Sunscreen and lip balm
*Cycling Shoes (if you have them)


Als ride napa

Ride to Defeat ALS September 18, 2021

When: Saturday, September 18, 2021

IMPORTANT: For those of you who paid a registration fee before August 16, your fee has been converted into a meaningful donation to our Chapter’s mission, will be counted toward your fundraising total, and will be counted toward all fundraising incentives.

Suggested Fundraising Minimum: $150

For more information, please visit our Event Details page.

Contact us:[email protected]

For all other information about this year's Napa Valley Ride, please visit our Event Details page.

NVR20 Event Information GraphicNVR20 Route Details Graphic

2020 - Napa Valley Ride to Defeat ALS and Walk - Awards Ceremony / Musical Performance

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